The Bookshelf, April 2019 #1

 

This is a Soul: the Mission of Rick Hodes, by Marilyn Berger. Rick works in Ethiopia among kids with serious back, or other health, issues. I loved reading about his work, kind of a Paul Farmer for back issues, or an Annalena Tonelli.

Running Down a Dream: Your Roadmap to Winning Creative Battles, by Tim Grahl. Tim shares personally and practically about his dark night of the soul in pursuing his creative dream, and how he dug his way out of it. $0.99!! Seriously. Ninety-nine cents. Go get it.

The Carrying, by Ada Limon, poems. Ada said in an interview, “I think poetry is a way of carrying grief, but it’s also a way of putting it somewhere so I don’t always have to heave it onto my back or in my body. The more I put grief in a poem, the more I am able to move freely through the world because I have named it, spoken it, and thrown it out into the sky.” Love.

Kindle Deals

Hidden Figures, $2.99. Probably, you’ve seen the movie. But have you read the book? Book before movie!

The Not-So United States of America, by Doug Mack. What do you really know about all of the USA?

What are you reading?

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Unlikely Marathoners (and, Women Run Without Dropping a Uterus!)

Quick link: The Most Unlikely Marathoners

*photo by Mustafa Said

HARGEISA, SOMALILAND— A cement wall topped with barbed wire surrounds the soccer field where girls gather once a week to play. Boys climb trees or scramble up the wall to peer inside and armed guards chase them away. Here, girls can run.

Across town is a basketball court, not quite regulation-size, also inside a protective wall with a locked front gate. About a dozen girls, most of whom have never played basketball before, are learning ball-handling skills and how to shoot. Here, too, girls can run.

A women-only fitness center downtown has treadmills, but most girls can’t afford the time or money to join, and the hours are limited. For those who can run here, the treadmills are wired to shut down after 15 minutes, to protect the women from injuring themselves.

Female Somali athletes have yet to make any kind of splash in the international running scene. Mo Farah, a Somalia-born Brit, is a four-time Olympic gold medalist and the most well-known Somali runner. Ayanleh Souleiman, a Somali from Djibouti, is one of the best active middle-distance runner in the world. Mumin Guelleh, another Somali Djiboutian, placed 12th in his first-ever marathon at the Rio Olympics.

But the most famous Somali runner on the women’s side is probably Samia Yusuf Omar, who is known more for her death than for her life. She competed in the 400 meters in the 2008 Olympics then, in 2012, worked her way from Mogadishu to Djibouti, then across northern Africa. She boarded a boat, hoping to reach Europe and a life where she could live without fear of being shot by terrorists. On the way, the boat capsized and Samia drowned. She was 21 years old…”

Click here to read the rest of the piece, in Deadspin (!!)

The Bookshelf, March 2019 and Kindle Deals

Holy Envy: finding God in the faith of others, by Barbara Brown Taylor. Holy envy is right.

The Rock that is Higher, story as truth, by Madeline L’Engle. Could I have spent the past two weeks with any wiser women?

Invited, the power of hospitality in an age of loneliness, by Leslie Verner. I had the privilege of reading an ARC (advanced reader copy) of Leslie’s lovely book. If you don’t follow her at Scraping Raisins, you should.

Inside Al-Shabaab: the secret history of al-Qaeda’s most powerful ally, by Harun Maruf and Dan Joseph This is a must read for anyone interested in the Horn of Africa. Incredibly informative but far from boring in a textbook kind of way.

Mudhouse Sabbath: an invitation to a life of spiritual discipline, by Lauren Winner. Lauren grew up Jewish and converted to Christianity. In this book she writes about spiritual practice and how Judaism informs her Christian faith. It is lovely.

Running Down a Dream, by Tim Grahl. If you’re a writer or a dreamer, this book is for you. How to beat the Resistance and get the work DONE. Also, check out Tim’s website, for writers it is the best site for marketing that I’ve found.

Everything Happens for a Reason and other Lies I’ve Loved, by Kate Bowler. I read this last year, too. But now that I have cancer, I needed to read it again.

 

Kindle Deals (prices may have changed)

The Furious Longing of God, by Brennan Manning

Winter Hours, by Mary Oliver

The Tigress of Forli: Renaissance Italy’s Most Courageous and Notorious Countess, Caterina Riario Sforza de’ Medici, by Elizabeth Lev (a book I read in researching my book)

Among Schoolchildren, by Tracy Kidder

Searching for Sunday, by Rachel Held Evans

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The Bookshelf, March 2019

Jesus Land by Julia Scheeres Gripping, horrifying, infuriating. This was a quick read that made my blood boil at the things she experienced – abuse at the hands of “Christian” parents and a “Christian” reform school. Racism that her brothers faced. The ignorance of the impact and struggles adopted kids face. Julia is a lovely writer, this is a haunting and dark book. Fitting in the #metoo era and especially with the New Tribes, Southern Baptist, and Catholic Church scandals.

All You Can Ever Know by Nicole Chung What a gift. This book is written from the perspective of an adopted child, now an adult. So many stories of adoption are written from the POV of the parents who adopted the child, and are written while that child is just coming home, or still young. But what impact does adoption have on the child? Nicole provided a nuanced, thoughtful look into her own experience and it is an important opener for a really important topic.

A Country Between: making a home where both sides of Jerusalem collide by Stephanie Saldana This book was, quite simply, gorgeous. I went to bed early every night the last week just to spend more time with the gentle prose and the imagery and the wisdom. Stephanie is an American, married to a Frenchman. They met in Syria where he chose love for a woman over love for his life as a monk. In this book, they live in Israel, between two worlds. I loved this book. See also her book Bread of Angels: a journey to faith and love, about reading the Bible and the Quran and finding Jesus and falling in love with a monk.

Walking in Wonder: eternal wisdom for the modern world by John O’Donohue Can I say this book was gorgeous, too? Well, it was. I took my time through this one and reread some chapters several times, through tears. I am a massive John O’Donohue fan, if you haven’t yet noticed. His words remind me of all that is beautiful and good, even in darkness and sorrow.

The 21: a journey into the land of coptic martyrs by Martin Mosebach (published by Plough, my publisher, yay!) Another book of trauma, except it isn’t. It could be. The 21 refers to the 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians who were beheaded by ISIS. Martin explores each of these men’s lives and legacies and what could be a story of horror becomes in his skillful hands, one of hope and life.

 

Kindle Deals – so many great books!

South and West, by Joan Didion $2.99. Um, Joan Didion for under 3$?! Yes, please.

The Color of Water, by James McBride, $1.99. A really important read in the racial relationships conversation.

Born a Crime, by Trevor Noah $2.99

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, by Arundhati Roy, $1.99

The Hiding Place, by Corrie Ten Boom, $1.99

Searching for Sunday, by Rachel Held Evans, $0.99 (this is probably my favorite of Rachel’s books, I read it while on the voting panel for Christianity Today’s book awards)

What are you reading lately?

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